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Monitoring summertime indoor overheating and pollutant risks and natural ventilation patterns of seniors in public housing

Tsoulou, I; He, R; Senick, J; Mainelis, G; Andrews, CJ; (2023) Monitoring summertime indoor overheating and pollutant risks and natural ventilation patterns of seniors in public housing. Indoor and Built Environment 10.1177/1420326X221148728. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Indoor heat and air pollution pose concurrent threats to human health and wellbeing, and their effects are more pronounced for vulnerable individuals. This study investigates exposures to summertime indoor overheating and airborne particulate matter (PM2.5) experienced by low-income seniors and explores the potential of natural ventilation on maintaining good indoor thermal conditions and air quality (IAQ). Environmental and behavioural monitoring and a series of interviews were conducted during summer 2017 in 24 senior apartments on three public housing sites in NJ, USA (1930s’ low-rise, 1960s’ high-rise and LEED-certified 2010s’ mid-rise). All sites had high exposures to overheating and PM2.5 concentrations during heat waves and on regular summer days, but with substantial between-site and between-apartment variability. Overheating was higher in the 30s’ low-rise site, while pollutant levels were higher in the 60s’ high-rise. Mixed linear models indicated a thermal and air quality trade-off with window opening (WO), especially in some ‘smoking’ units from the older sites, but also improved both thermal and PM2.5 concentration conditions in 20% of the apartments. Findings suggest that with warmer future summers, greater focus is needed on the interdependencies among (1) thermal and IAQ outcomes and (2) technological and behavioural dimensions of efforts to improve comfort for vulnerable occupants.

Type: Article
Title: Monitoring summertime indoor overheating and pollutant risks and natural ventilation patterns of seniors in public housing
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1420326X221148728
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/1420326X221148728
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: Overheating indoor air quality pollutants natural ventilation, window opening, seniors, public housing, heat waves, monitoring study
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10163689
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